Seen And Heard

The value of belts

I was reading through the excellent salary survey in the December 2012 issue of QP when I was stopped in my tracks. Right in the middle of p. 48, in the center of Table 4, the data show that respondents with the job title “Quality Engineer” make significantly more with a Six Sigma Green Belt (SSGB) certification than with the more rigorous and difficult-to-obtain Six Sigma Black Belt (SSBB) certification.

According to the data, quality engineers who responded to the survey make a mean salary of $87,376 with a Green Belt certification (47 respondents) and only $75,167 (57 respondents) with a Black Belt certification. In fact, the data also show that quality engineers with no certification (248 respondents) make the same mean salary as quality engineers with a SSBB certification ($75,998 vs. $75,167, respectively).

As a quality engineer who was trained by an employer as a SSBB and who has been strongly thinking about getting my ASQ SSBB certification, I find this information somewhat surprising. I say “somewhat surprising” because my purely anecdotal experiences tell me that unless your job title is SSBB, companies are not interested in compensating quality engineers for having SSBB experience. It’s a “nice to have, but we’re not going to pay you for it” mentality.

Is this data confirmation of my anecdotal experience? Does this data tell us don’t push for the more rigorous SSBB certification when a SSGB certification will do much better? This is not intuitively obvious to me, but there’s the data. I’d like to hear a hypothesis for why this is so.

Has SSBB gone out of favor? I’d like to see a deeper analysis of the data to see if there are any hidden causes, such as location or age. Right now, I’m just shaking my head.

Craig M. Fox
Etters, PA

Personal quality

After reading “Quality Around the Clock” (November 2012) I thought I’d share how the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle is not only used in business.

Eighteen months ago, I was checking into different cruises I might be interested in. After my search, I went to a travel agent and booked a cruise, air and hotel for a two-day stay in the port city before boarding the ship. All booking was done through the cruise line. Plan and do: done.

In the past year, I found I could save just shy of $500 by booking my airfare myself, so I cancelled the airfare through the cruise line. I also discovered that the hotel I would be staying at increased the room price by $50 per night, so I left that reservation alone. In addition, the actual cost of the cruise itself increased in last 18 months, so there’s even more savings. Check: done. I’m down to just a couple of weeks before my trip, which means the “act” step will soon be realized.

Also, by planning in advance, I didn’t need to put the trip on a credit card. Instead, I’m paying a few hundred dollars each month. As a result, there are no interest charges, and I’m not shelling out thousands at one time. The point of this is to show the importance of PDCA even with something as simple as a vacation. While it’s hard to explain the importance of planning so far in advance, this shows that by doing so, large sums of money can be saved.

Gary Beckemeyer
Peoria, IL

Online Extras

Leading questions

Hear more about the Deming-inspired, four-part system to create more effective leaders in this month’s author audio, which features John R. Schultz , the author of cover article “Out in Front” (pp. 18-23).

Setting the table

This month’s One Good Idea column, “Ultimate Originality” (p. 64), shows you a better path to product innovation. Go online to the article’s webpage for extra tables that help illustrate the method.

Quick Poll Results

Each month at www.qualityprogress.com, visitors can take an informal survey. Here are the numbers from a recent Quick Poll:

Have quality control issues and supply chain glitches changed your view of Apple?

  • No. All organizations have occasional problems. 50%
  • Somewhat. More problems seem to be cropping up. 43.2%
  • Yes. I will no longer buy its products. 6.7%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the latest question:

How has becoming certified affected your career?

  • Hasn’t made an impact.
  • Helped me get a new job.
  • Helped me get a raise.
  • I don’t hold any certifications.

QP’s Most Popular

  1. Facing Tight Times: Results from the 2012 Salary Survey reveal the paths to monetary rewards.
  2. Likert Scales and Data Analysis: Analyses of ordinal data, particularly as it relates to Likert scales, are not generally straightforward and transparent.
  3. Beyond the Basics: Seven new quality tools can help you innovate, communicate and plan at your organization.
  4. Corrective vs. Preventive Action: Quality professionals frequently express confusion as to the difference between corrective and preventive action.

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